How Your Eyesight and Blood Pressure Can Impact Your Brain Health - Mature Health Center

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How Your Eyesight and Blood Pressure Can Impact Your Brain Health

How Your Eyesight and Blood Pressure Can Impact Your Brain Health

Two of latest health tips for your brain involve your eyes and your heart.

To keep your brain in shape, check your blood pressure and maintain healthy vision.

The Eye-Brain Connection

A U.S. study authored by D. Diane Zheng of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine suggests that waning eyesight may hasten the pace of cognitive decline in older people and that vision fixes like new eyeglasses or cataract removal surgery can help keep older people sharp.

“Taking care of your vision is important in order to maintain good cognitive function,” Zheng told Reuters Health.

Another recent study suggests that small changes in the blood vessels within our eyes at age 60 can foretell a significant loss of memory over the next couple of decades. The study is the latest in mounting evidence that eyes can reflect overall health.

"If the retinal blood vessels are unhealthy, there's every reason to think that the brain blood vessels are unhealthy as well," National Eye Institute Dr. Rachel Bishop, who was not involved in the new study, told CNN.

Eye problems sometimes are simply age-related, but eyes can indicate uncontrolled systemic disease such as diabetes. Multiple sclerosis, cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure also can be observed in the eye.

You may not notice any symptoms, however, so it’s important to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with diabetes have a diluted exam every year and that people at higher risk for glaucoma — African Americans 40 years and older, all adults older than 60 and people with a family history of glaucoma — go every two years. But if you have any eye problems, visit your eye doctor immediately.

Our Brains and Blood Pressure

Controlling high blood pressure can help reduce the risk of dementia, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, who directs the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, told NPR.

Koroshetz cited studies showing that even a small stroke greatly magnifies your risk of dementia and that high blood pressure also appears to increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to control your blood pressure without medicine, from power walking to watching your salt intake.